KARACHI - The ministers, elected representatives and civil society activists have termed that until the elimination of institutional bias in every sector of government, the enhancement in budget allocations and development projects for women empowerment will not be result oriented in the country. However, they also stressed for participatory approach in budget-making process, as currently there is no effective participation of elected representatives and gender equality in budget-making process. Addressing a seminar on 'Provincial Budget 2009-10 as per Gender Lens held at local hotel on Friday, they further said that even elected representatives were also not consulted in budget-making process. MQM parliamentary leader in Sindh Assembly and provincial minister, Syed Sardar Ahmed, in his speech said that budget was the tool and programme of any ruling party. There is no participation of women in budget-making process at provincial or federal level, while even parliamentarians were not involved in this regard. Quoting a survey of an international organisation, he said that Pakistan was in fourth category due to least participation of elected representatives in budget making, evaluation and monitoring, while India and Bangladesh are in 3rd category in this survey. He pointed out that majority of the development plans adopted in Pakistan were the brainchild of USA. Sardar further said that their GDP was increasing, but they had to consider the facts that were causing disparity between the poor and rich due to this increment. He suggested for the formation of independent NFC Commission to solve the issue of resources distribution. Sharmila Farooqui, advisor to CM Sindh, in her presidential address highlighted the measures for women empowerment announced in budget 2009-10. She also said that the current budgetary allocations were not sufficient to eliminate all woes of women, but it could be an initiative for change. She further said that women of rural areas were more conscious about their rights than urban. The institutional discrimination with the women could be eliminated through joint struggle of all sectors, while government alone cannot bring change, she said. Government has planned the recruitment of about 0.1 million lady health workers in next five years which was the vision of Benazir Bhutto. Jam Madad Ali, Opposition leader in Sindh Assembly, said the PPP government had not fulfilled it promises including announcement of NFC award, involvement of MPAs in budget-making process and many others. He suggested that instead of giving cash amount under Benazir Income Support programme, government should establish cottage industries for women which could serve even better source of economy for them. Jam pointed out that rural women are more conscious as time has been changed, while girls of feudal families in Sindh are getting higher education. He also advocated for opening more schools for girls in Sindh. He offered all possible support to Aurat Foundation in developing their programme in rural areas of the province. Huma Baqai, an educationist, said that increase in budgetary allocations and opening of shelter homes for women was not the solution of problems, but they had to eliminate the institutional bias against women. PPP MPA Humera said that Sindh government should reduce the non-development expenditures such as purchasing of vehicles and luxurious furniture for ministers offices. Advocate Rubina Brohi of Aurat Foundation briefed about the activities of Legislative Watch Programme (LWP) which were started in 1997 in all the four provinces and at federal level as well. The LWP is a macro level project of Aurat Foundation which aims to bring legislative reforms with focus on womens legal rights. LWGs consists upon a group different professionals including lawyers, jurists, media persons, parliamentarians, MPAs, MNAs, senators, human/women rights activists, students and others. She said that Aurat Foundation had enhanced the activities of LWP at district levels to monitor the legislation of local governments in Sindh.